Aika Online Preview: Looks Good Enough to Eat
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
When I first encountered Aika, I was still working for a game company here in this country. The game looked good and it probably was good, however, when I saw it, the game was still in Korean so it slipped off my radar.
I came across the game again recently. Now it’s in English so I can actually really check out Aika Online. Upon setting foot into the game, everything felt familiar.
Upon entering Lakia, the world that Aika takes place in, the first thing that blew me away was how the game looks. You can say that the game looks as good as say, Lineage or Granado Espada (Swords of the New World for other countries). You are sent into a world where everyone looks good, even the monsters you have to kill.
Character creation screen
The game’s backdrop seems like it was taken from high fantasy novels. Everything looks fresh and vibrant just like how things look in GE. I know with this first impression, you’d immediately jump at the similarities of GE and Aika Online. However, these “similarities” between Aika and GE are only based on its visuals and graphics.
After getting over my initial surprise, I finally understood why the game felt familiar. Aika had a lot of game systems taken from a certain mmo. It should come as no surprise though because the two games have the same developer. The mmo that I’m talking about is, With Your Destiny (WYD, or Supreme Destiny SD, to some countries).
Aika Online is the upgraded version of WYD. There are a lot of systems in Aika that are found in WYD. The thing is it seems that WYD was the first draft of the things you find in Aika. Let’s just say for now that Aika is WYD, but Aika has a better graphics engine and a more refined game system compared to WYD.
Prans in Aika Online are your partners and friends. They’re the white light or fairy that circles around your character in its lower levels and continues to evolve to become a child and teenager. The fairy Pran reminds me of the Naiads you find in WYD. They have the same visual characteristics and both the WYD Naiads and Aika’s Prans assist the player.
A warrior and his Pran
Assisting however is the only thing similar between the two because Prans as I’ve said evolve and develop a character of their own. Also, Prans can attack or heal you. The Naiads on the other hand only serve as a charm to protect you from dying.
Aika prides itself as a PvP centric MMO. No one can argue with that since there are a lot of game systems in Aika, which support such claim. The PvP systems in Aika Online seem to be the refined version of the PvP systems found in WYD because both games are in fact PvP centered.
Aika Online has three ways players can get involved with PvP. Players can create their own PvP instance called Battlegrounds where they can go fight against other players in PvP battles. The Battlegrounds system is like Aika’s version of PvP rooms where players can create specific instances solely for PvP-ing.
Aika also has a nation vs. nation PvP called Relic War. It’s basically a PvP system that pits the five nations against each other in a race to acquire “relics” that provide nationwide buffs for its citizens. You can say that Relic War is similar to RF’s chip war where the RF’s three races battle to acquire the chip and provide their race buffs that will span till the next scheduled war.
The third biggest PvP system in Aika Online is the Castle Siege. This is more of a nation-wide guild battle where guilds can vie for power and control of their nation. The guild leader who takes control of the castle will be the one who controls the nation’s political, military and economic policy.
Political as well as PvP Centered
The Castle Siege system puts politics in Aika gameplay. Having control over your nation really puts emphasis on guild politics. Adding politics into the mix makes Aika more interesting because the game becomes more than just eye candy. The level of depth the game has will immerse a lot of players.
However, I think it will be hard to attract new players in the late stages of the game. There will come a time when an established rule is placed in Aika. When that happens, new players who have no affiliation whatsoever will find it hard to adjust or even be part of the nation’s politics. I think though this kind of problem will be easily remedied by participating in a few Relic Wars.
Control over different areas
Speaking of Eye Candy
Aika has a lot of eye candy aside from the beautiful landscapes and graphics. As expected from eastern style MMORPGS, the developers have put a lot of emphasis on female characters and their chests. You can actually see the physics engine at work when you’re creating your character. Believe me, I’ve had an eyeful.
The job classes in Aika are gender locked. Customization allows you to change the face, hairstyle and hair color of your character. You don’t specifically have a real “customized” character in Aika Online. This is the games limit but then the game prefers to concentrate on the gameplay rather than the personal touch.
As far as I can tell, I like how Aika looks and feels. Everything set in place in Aika is well suited for a fun PvP centered gaming experience. There are still a lot of areas that are not accessible at the moment, (which I stumbled upon with my access) but it seems that the game will deliver an action-packed gaming experience for players.
However a lot of game systems rely on the game’s population. I’ve seen a lot of MMOs die because they haven’t been able to keep the population stable. Speaking of which, there will be balance issues especially in the nation vs. nation war. There are 5 nations that need to be filled. There will be a time when one nation won’t even be able to compete because the players who belong to that nation are either migrating to another nation or are too low level to even stand up against stronger nations.
Of course everything right now is just pure speculation. There’s a possibility that the game will get a population boom come OBT and commercial launch. The game has a lot of potential to be a hit; however the people running the game need to make sure they deliver the best possible gaming experience. I’ll have to hold off my judgment till I see the game past CBT.